Using the Tarot for Creativity and Empowerment

21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card: Step 7 – Synthesis

21ways to Read a Tarot Card cover

This week in Step 7 of Mary K. Greer’s book “21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card“, we are working with Synthesis, in which we combine simple statements from everything we learned in Step 5 and Step 6. Mary states that in this step, synthesis involves finding affinities among the different components (mode, suit & element) and then determining how they relate to real life events.

An example she uses in the book is the Three of Wands. The first step is to look at the different components: “I have drawn the Three of Wands. Threes are about cooperation and wands are about activity and enterprises. This is a number card and therefore about a life event or situation.”

She then combines these different components into a single sentence: “The Three of Wands is about life situations in which the cooperation of the threes combines with the activity and enterprise of the wands”. She then blends this further: “Events have cooperated to set an enterprise in motion”.

She then gives us some alternate pairs, based upon different interpretations of the components. For example, if we interpret threes as “fertility” and wands as “passion”, you could come up with the sentence “My passion wants to multiply and spread”. If we interpret the threes as integration and wands as innovation, you could come up with “This situation gives me the opportunity to put things together in a whole new way”. The meanings you give to these components would of course depend upon the question asked as well as your own intuition. The beauty of this method is that it works even if the pip cards in your deck are not illustrated.

In the activity, she gives us several cards and then asks us to synthesize the keywords into an integrative statement using number/rank, suit, element and mode.

Let’s look first at the Page of Pentacles:

Page of Pentacles tarot card image

Page of Pentacles from the Radiant Rider-Waite-Smith deck

Page (beginning of an endeavor) + Pentacles/Earth (wealth and growth) = Pages represent the beginning of an endeavor and pentacles represent our finances. This is a court card and represents a person. Thus, a new business venture results in a financial increase.

Other alternatives:

Page (messages received) + Pentacles/Earth (security/job) = News about the security of your current job.


Page (serving others) + Pentacles/Earth (stability) – Helping others provides stability for yourself.


Page (children) + Pentacles/Earth (grounding) – Having a family provides a grounding influence in your life.


Page (new business plan) + Pentacles/Earth (manifestation on the physical level) – Bring your plans to life.


Page (study) + Pentacles/Earth (finances/security) – a new program of study leads to financial security.

In this exercise, Mary has us do the same work with the Eight of Swords, Wheel of Fortune and the Ace of Cups. Give it a try and see how many different combinations you can come up with. Then, try it with your chosen card.  Mary also include many wonderful additional exercises in this chapter to help you take this technique even further.

If you really want to get into the spirit of synthesis, you can expand this further by including components from your description (Step 2), emotions (Step 3) and your story (Step 4). Using the synthesis method can really help you if you draw a blank after turning over a card – simply put together what you know about the card’s element, suit and number and the meanings will begin to flow.

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